A sweet love story with a side of daddy kink. Not what I expected prior to going in...
"It's like I want to crush him up into a little ball and tuck him directly into my heart..."
...but it works.
Exposed is foremost a romance between two damaged souls who happen to meet by chance one rainy night in London, of all places. Emyr is a Welsh twenty year old rising rock star. His innocent looks and provocative lyrics have a following. Greg, forty two year old Canadian web designer and photographer, couldn't imagine his luck bucking into the crying man. Emyr's face begs to be captured on camera, Greg's camera. But even more so Greg notices someone who is cracking at the seams, he's been there, is still there. So he invites a stranger to his hotel room, just to talk. And Emyr accepts.
Thus begins their connection and their path to more.
"I am, you know," he said after a moment.
"Ha... When did I ask you that?"
"You didn't have to."
Greg is a dominant who is still reeling from his last sub and the aftermath of what he thought was a scene. It's been five years and his self imposed celibacy has never been tested as it is with Emyr. There's an innocence that is alluring. But once he sees how obedient Emyr is, well it just calls to him. From the moment these two men meet, their connection is palpable. I kept reading along, saying to myself, this couldn't really happen, could it? Meeting a rock star and tumbling into their world?
But it's Greg and Emyr's connection, their ease with one another, the way they exposed their inner workings to each other. (Not without hesitation from one of the men) That's what I bought. It's what sold me anytime I questioned an initial response.
Greg tries to back away from the celebrity. Emyr is too young, probably straight. The impromptu photo shoot/ session didn't break his celibacy. But Greg's subconscious and feelings won't be denied. The boy got under his skin.
You get sort of numb after a while when you cut off human contact, and you end up telling yourself all sorts of bullshit--like, that you don't actually need it, that it's not so bad going without--and then you carry on building a shell around yourself with these lies. But, what you don't realize is that shell is brittle and thin and made of denial, barely containing the visceral need growing in your guts like some formless, ravenous, single-minded creature.
Though the story is told from Greg's POV, we get a good sense of Emyr. He might be young and inexperienced, but he was mature in a lot aspects. He was persistent and willing to try new things. I loved that as the daddy kink was presented on the table, he researched! And discovered a part of himself he didn't knew existed. Greg is his first real relationship, and in a way, it's Greg's first real relationship too.
"Trust me, Daddy."
Daddy. I smiled, and he gave me a coy grin in return. "You're determined to wear me down."
"I am that."
I'm a fan of age gaps, damaged protagonists with internal baggage, heroes who aren't the best at communicating their emotions. Exposed definitely has that. The angst is more internal struggles than external. Greg and Emyr have to trust, communicate. And I think it was my most favorite thing about this novel, (besides the daddy kink, duh). It was that the two communicated, even when it hurt. It was equal footing where it counted.
Now let's get to the daddy kink shall we?
Daddy kink is fairly tamer on the BDSM scale. And this story is not necessarily a formalized, contract bound pairing. It read more natural. And if you're a reader who clutches their pearl at the mention of daddy kink, this is a romance first. The daddy kink if I had to rate it on a 1 to 5 of extremes, 5 being the most hardcore, it's a 1. There was role playing, a few spankings, D/s. Bonus for the bare backing, (semi)public sex, size difference and big guy bottoming scene. I like it when daddies get breached too. ;D
If you're going in expecting hardcore scenes, you might not enjoy this as much. The sex is melting hot (hello it's a Deckard), there are definitely re-read worthy chapters. What I enjoyed about it is that it wasn't overly long drawn out scenes. Every sexual encounter read organic and fit the main characters. I did slowly grow to love the main characters, separately and as a pair. I think they're perfect for each other.
It's no surprise I enjoy this author's work and his back list varies in taste. This was the most romantic, most sweet I've ever read from him.
"You've nothing to worry about, silly--I'm yours... And you're mine, and I'll take care of that poor, neglected heart of yours just as well as I take care of that poor, neglected cock."
"Well, it's not so neglected anymore," I said, making as if to mull it over what he had said. "You do take good care of it--that bodes well for my heart, I suppose."
I'm not surprised he wrote it, the tell tale signs of his writing are all there. Vivid settings, it's a road trip for a large chunk of Exposed, I felt like I was there with the pair and the cast of side characters at each location, an interesting cast of characters (Owain, Barrie, Rose and the nain dominatrix!) that you can't help to enjoy. His side characters have a tendency to enrich his stories without overtaking the shine from the main characters. There was a little suspense-ful twist, that wasn't over dramatic. It ended a little tamer than introduced.
Overall, a great read that I'm happy to add to my favorites of 2017 list.
This is sweet for this author, not necessarily your run of the mill schmoop. So if you're looking to finally delve into this author's work, Exposed is a great place to start. (His Actor's Circle series is also on the tamer side of the Deckard spectrum)
I don't know if the author will ever return to this couple. I think their HEA is pretty solid. But maybe a possible dabble into one of their scenes? I think I'm going to miss Daddy and his boy.
Who knew photo shoots could be so seductive?